Certification of Class for Unmanifested Asbestos Claims in Bankruptcy Court Denied

Debtors filed voluntary petitions for relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court; certain debtors’ subsidiaries have potential liability related to former employees’ alleged exposure to asbestos in power plants owned or operated by debtors’ predecessors. The bankruptcy court issued an order setting a bar date for all asbestos claimants, establishing requirements for proofs of claim for manifested and unmanifested asbestos claimants, and notice procedures. Appellants filed a motion seeking to have the court, among other things, certify a class of persons holding unmanifested asbestos claims. …

Continue Reading

Plaintiff Could Not Side-Step Manville Trust by Directly Suing Defendant Where Claim was a Pre-Petition Claim Subject to Discharge by Bankruptcy

The plaintiff, Lynda Berry, filed an asbestos lawsuit in Louisiana against Graphic Packaging International for mesothelioma due secondary exposure from her husband’s work at the Manville Forest Products (MFP) mill from 1961-2010. The plaintiff’s petition included claims against Manville for asbestos it produced, and claims against Graphic for negligently maintaining the premises. Graphic filed an emergency motion for enforcement of the bankruptcy confirmation orders of the Johns-Manville Corporation and MFP. Graphic argued it was a successor of MFP, and as such, the plaintiff must first …

Continue Reading

Although Plaintiff’s Claims Within 1986 Manville Settlement Order, Case Remanded to Bankruptcy Court to Determine If Plaintiff Received Due Process

The plaintiff, Salvador J. Parra, Jr., developed asbestosis after working as an insulator and sued Marsh USA, Inc., an insurance broker, and others. Marsh filed a motion in the bankruptcy cases of Johns-Manville, arguing it was relieved of liability for the plaintiff’s claims. The bankruptcy court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. The district court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case to the bankruptcy court for further proceedings.

Marsh was Manville’s primary insurance broker from 1944-1982. Manville had sued Marsh, …

Continue Reading

Bankruptcy Stay Lifted Against Defendant/Debtor to Allow Plaintiffs to Pursue State Law Claims

In this case, the defendant that used asbestos in some of its production while in business filed chapter 11. There remained 123 claims against the defendant and the defendant’s proposed chapter 11 plan stated that the “liability issues will pass through the bankruptcy and be tried in non-bankruptcy courts having jurisdiction.” The defendant objected to the Asbestos Committee’s motion to lift the automatic stay, arguing the stay should remain in place pending plan confirmation.

In its analysis, the court applied the Fernstrom three-part balancing test …

Continue Reading